Envoy News March 2020
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News and updates from the UU@UN to keep you informed.
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Dear ,

How are you doing? Are you and your loved ones staying well? I would love to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. I heard from many people on the March Envoy calls about how their congregations are adapting to this new reality, but would be interested to hear from others - or updates from those who've already shared. I hope you've found ways to stay connected during this isolating time. What are congregations doing to continue justice work whilst physically distant?

I am sure you have also seen heartbreaking and infuriating news over the last few days about the U.S. administration taking advantage of coronavirus chaos to remove environmental protections and to "disestablish" the Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation. Around the world, already authoritarian-leaning governments are using the coronavirus as an excuse to cut down on civil liberties of all kinds. Hungary has just extended the emergency powers of its Prime Minister indefinitely, including suspending Parliament and imposing severe restrictions on free speech. We all need to do what we can to lift up these violations and continue our work for human rights in whatever ways possible.

I want to make sure to express enormous gratitude for all reading this who are part of the expansive pool of "essential workers" - and all others filling in on responsibilities they are not used to and are not prepared for. Thank you. You can do it. We'll get through this as long as we continue to support one another. If you've been to any part of the UUA's website in the last few weeks you will have seen resources for congregations facing the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as an opportunity to donate to the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Fund. The resources are continually updated as new materials and guidelines are developed.

Here are the minutes from the March 2020 Envoy conference calls. Our next call will be April 21; please RSVP here.

Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, the March 31 deadline is relaxed to meet the Blue Ribbon Congregation requirements. If you would like to check on your congregation's status and haven't heard from me yet, please send me an email.

Be well.

In faith, love, hope, and justice,

Allison Hess

International Engagement Associate


As you may have observed in emails, social media, or on our website in the last week, we've got a new name: the Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations, or as we'll shorten it from now on: the UU@UN. This name change provides more clarity as far as who we are and what we do, while also bringing us more in line with United Nations guidelines. This is not a drastic change, but we want to make sure Envoys are aware that this is the name that should be used in communicating about our office with your congregation and beyond. Our website remains the same ( and you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @UUOfficeUN. If you're already following us, no need to do anything: The handles have changed but are not new accounts.

Some recommended text to put in your congregation's newsletter.

A quick look at the headlines on the United Nations' News website ( clearly shows that the UN is in pandemic-mode: "'Immediate nationwide ceasefire' needed for all-out effort to counter COVID-19 in Syria," "Coronavirus necessitates global increase in protective equipment, medical supplies: UN health chief," "COVID-19 stoking xenophobia, hate and exclusion, minority rights expert warns," "$2.5 trillion COVID-19 rescue package needed for world's emerging economies," "Release inmates in Yemen to avert nationwide coronavirus outbreak, experts urge," "UN helps Pacific prepare for COVID-19 pandemic, warns that children are 'hidden victims'," ...and it goes on. The work of the United Nations continues, as does the work of your Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations. Amidst this global emergency, the need for international cooperation and collaboration has never been more urgent. Our planet is lucky to have so many tools for virtual collaboration, and those tools are being used for education, business, entertainment, and even diplomacy. Oppression, violence, and injustice do not take a break for global pandemic, so the work of resistance must go on - albeit in different formats than ever before. Join the UU Office at the United Nations on April 17-18 for their online Intergenerational Spring Seminar to learn more about how to create climate justice for all. Register by April 9 at
The President of the UN General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, takes part in a remote briefing to UN Member States on the coronavirus crisis. Photo by United Nations/Reem Abaza
A look behind, a look ahead
March 27: UU@UN hosts online event about doulas in at-risk communities.
March 31: International Transgender Day of Visibility
April 5:
UU@UN Director Bruce Knotts speaks at All Souls NYC event about moving money from Nuclear Weapons to addressing Climate Change. (Online!)
April 7:
UU@UN hosts event about protecting trans rights in healthcare. (Online!)
April 9:
Registration deadline for 2020 Intergenerational Spring Seminar
April 17-18:
Intergenerational Spring Seminar
All In For Climate Justice: People, Power, Planet (Online!)
April 22: 50th Earth Day
May 15-17: Annual General Meeting for the Canadian Unitarian Council (Online!)
June 24-28:
UUA General Assembly in Providence, RI

A Season of Sacred Activism, March 22 - May 22, 2020

Spring for Change: A Season of Sacred Activism - from March 22 (World Water Day) through May 22 (International Day for Biodiversity) - is an invitation to the Unitarian Universalist faith community to embody the transformational, regenerative power of spring through sacred activism for Earth and all our relations. Resources from the UU Ministry for Earth help congregations engage in activism during these two months. The resources are being adapted for online rather than in-person action so keep an eye on the UUMFE's website for more details as they arise!

All In for Climate Justice: People, Power, Planet

The UU Office at the United Nations and our 2020 Planning Committee have moved the Intergenerational Spring Seminar to a virtual rather than physical event! Join us April 17-18 for workshops, worship, small group collaboration, and more to learn about how we can take action and make change for climate justice. Registration for all attendees (age 14+) is open; we request a donation of $20 per attendee so that we can pay our presenters. Please register again even if you had already registered for the in-person event. The Planning Committee is currently working on details for the schedule and programming, which will be updated online as frequently as possible.

Webinar Tuesday, April 7 with National Equality Action Team

UU the Vote has partnered with the National Equality Action Team (NEAT) to offer you the opportunity to #DefeatHate in 2020. NEAT mobilizes hundreds of volunteers across the U.S. via an online phone bank system to talk to voters in states from coast to coast about issues that advance LGBTQ+ justice. As we mobilize our efforts to #VoteLove in 2020, we are inviting UUs to join us at 7pm EDT April 7 to learn how your congregation can support LGBTQ+ justice campaigns, from a "social distance." Our partners at NEAT will guide you through their free Volunteer and Field Collaboratives that bring together volunteers and organizations across the country to take collective action for LGBTQ+ Justice. You will learn how easy it is to join and be involved, and how powerful our actions can be when we work together to #DefeatHate.

Keep yourself and your congregation informed about important news coming from the UN
Call for ceasefire - The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for a global ceasefire for all armed conflicts around the world, while countries and aid organizations work to address the coronavirus pandemic.

UN persists
- Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the United Nations to operate in new ways, its vital work worldwide continues largely uninterrupted, heads of UN principle organs assured Member States during a joint briefing last week held online.

Israel & Palestine - Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process has praised the coordination between the Israeli and Palestine authorities in reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peacekeeping radio - UN Peacekeeping radio stations have in recent decades helped build support for peace process in a dozen countries around the world. Today, these stations are playing another vital role: getting the word out to vulnerable communities in conflict-affected states about the coronavirus pandemic and how people can protect themselves from getting the disease.
This work is made possible by the generosity of member congregations and individual donors.

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